Friday, March 6, 2015

High Heels and Laminitis

High heels or Conformation Change?

I recently read a thread on Facebook about rotation of P3 and high heels. The question presented was; Why is it that there seems to be a greater degree of rotation to P3 (coffin bone) in those hooves with high heels? It has often been said that horses that suffer laminitis/founder grow more heel. There are many reasons given for this, but none have been scientifically proven. Many of the treatment protocols call for raising the heels of those horses with rotation. From one perspective the farrier is looking at the hoof wall of the heel and its height. One farrier commented that heel height held no relationship to the position of the coffin bone. From another perspective the vet looks at bone alignment to the dorsal hoof wall. Perhaps it is time to entertain a new perspective, one that involves the conformation of the foundation caudal (back) foot, ungular cartilage. Here is a link to a paper I authored on the subject (Laminitis / Founder).  It is my hope that for the good of the horse those that are caring for the horse stricken with laminitis / founder look at the situation from multiple perspectives. Article on heel displacement

The lines do are NOT suggested as trim lines. They represent the
changes in conformation that have occurred over time. 

View this Video

About the Author: 
Keith "KC" La Pierre, MAEP, APF, RJF, CF has been a farrier for more than 30 years. KC is the co-founder of the Institute of Applied Equine Podiatry. KC teaches and lectures on Applied Equine Podiatry through out the world. As a researcher KC has developed and introduced dozens of innovative theories, methods, and products that continue to improve the quality of life of the horse. 


  1. Is the blue lines where the hoof is supposed look like after you are done trimming and is the red what you are supposed to trim off

    1. Absolutely not. The lower blue line represents the orientation of the coronary band at the onset of conformational change. The upper line defines the conformation of the coronary groove of the ungular cartilage at the present time. Approximately 80% of the circumference of the coronary band has a foundation of cartilage. The dorsal aspect of the coronary band has a foundation of bone.

  2. Thank you for asking Dale. No the lower line indicates the conformation of the coronary band groove (ungular cartilage) prior to the changes that occurred resulting in the high heel conformation see and illustrated by the top line. This blog post is not about trimming but rather about the whys of change. I always suggest that the hoof be trimmed to the conformation presented by its internal foot. Those lines are not an indication how to trim.